Morales homers in 10th as Blue Jays top Angels 7-6
Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Kendrys Morales (8) celebrates his two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during first inning interleague baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Jill Painter Lopez, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, June 24, 2018 8:33PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 24, 2018 9:26PM EDT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kendrys Morales ditched his glasses and found his swing.
Morales connected for a pinch-hit homer in the 10th inning, sending the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Morales hit a two-out drive to right off Hansel Robles for his eighth homer. Robles (2-3) was making his Angels debut after he was claimed off waivers from the New York Mets.
The 35-year-old Morales made his major league debut with Los Angeles in 2006 and played for the Angels for six years.
"It always feels good, I don't think it matters more or less that it was the team that signed me," Morales said through an interpreter. "That was a good moment and I'll take it and I'm happy for it."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons thinks there's something to Morales not using the glasses he tried.
"He's always been a good hitter. He's always been a dangerous hitter," Gibbons said. "I was telling somebody the other day, he got rid of his glasses. The glasses were screwing him up."
Curtis Granderson, Aledmys Diaz and Devon Travis also homered for Toronto, which split the four-game series after dropping the first two. Diaz had two hits and scored three times.
Travis praised Gibbons for sending Morales to the plate in the 10th.
"Two outs, putting Kendrys in in that situation. He's a good hitter. That was awesome," Travis said. "Kendrys has been swinging the bat so well really all year. You can look at his numbers and they don't quite tell the story. I feel every time the guy goes to the box he puts the barrel on the ball, he puts up a good at-bat and just happy things have been going better in the luck department lately. That was a big one right there. He's a guy in this locker room that gels everyone together."
The Blue Jays had a 6-3 lead before the Angels rallied in the eighth, taking advantage of two errors. Ryan Tepera (5-2) replaced Aaron Loup with two out and the bases loaded, and Martin Maldonado responded with a three-run double to left.
Tepera then picked Maldonado off second to end the inning. He also worked the ninth, and Tyler Clippard got three outs for his fourth save.
Toronto jumped in front on Travis' three-run homer off Felix Pena in the second. Diaz hit a tiebreaking leadoff drive in the sixth, and Granderson added his seventh of the season with two out.
Justin Upton hit his 17th homer for the Angels, and Maldonado had two hits and four RBIs. Pena, a converted reliever making his second career start, allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings.
"We battled back. We didn't do enough things in the end," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We couldn't keep it in the park. They hit four home runs off us. We do a good job getting back in games."
Angels star Mike Trout has some free time during games when he serves as the designated hitter. His sprained index finger has kept him from playing centre field, which can make for some restless moments.
"I'm going to tell him to go play catch in left field and roll it back left-handed so he can feel like he plays some defence. He goes crazy in the dugout," Scioscia said. "DHing is not easy, especially when you're used to the everyday separation of going out there and focusing on defence. The best thing to get an at-bat out of your head is to go out and play defence."
PITCHING WITH PURPOSE
Toronto right-hander Sam Gaviglio was charged with three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings in his first start back from paternity leave. Gaviglio's daughter, Livia, was born on Tuesday.
"It was nice. It's like riding a bike," Gaviglio said. "It's just another baseball game."
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched on Thursday with hamstring tightness, came out of his bullpen session Saturday with no problems and will start Monday.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (9-3, 3.56 ERA) pitches Monday against Houston. Happ has allowed no runs in two of his last three starts.
Angels: Skaggs (6-4, 2.81 ERA) is all set for a makeup game at Kansas City. He is 3-0 with a sparkling 0.45 ERA in June.